Speed conscious volunteers are giving up their time to keep the streets safe.
Bedfordshire Police’s Community Speed Watch scheme is run county wide but it is always staffed by local people. They aim to provide a visible presence to deter motorists from speeding.
The Speed Watch group in Langford meets several times a month to enforce the 20mph and 30mph limits in the village. Shortly before Christmas they met in one of their favourite spots at the start and end of the 30mph limit. They targeted the road during the afternoon school run.
Volunteer Steve Hilleard, who lives in the village, said: “In an hour we will get 30 to 40 vehicles coming through at well over 30mph. We stick to this spot quite a lot because it’s definitely quite a rat run for people coming off the A1 or picking up their kids from school.
“The reason I got involved was the ridiculous speed people came through this village.”
Drivers caught by the volunteers cannot be given points or fines but the police say that it is still highly effective.
The keeper of the vehicle is sent a letter advising them of the incident at which they were caught speeding. Their details are then placed on the Speed Watch database.
If the same vehicle is caught again by any Speed Watch group in Bedfordshire the keeper is sent a second letter. If it is caught a third time then the keeper will receive a visit from the police. Also the police will consider using a speed gun, which can send out fines and give penalty points, in the area.
However, of the 2,184 people caught by the 11 groups in this area only one person has reached their third strike and most are only caught once.
The speed identification device, known as SID, is placed in a clearly visible position and used only in good weather because, as PCSO Ann Jeeves explained: “The last thing we want is for an accident to be caused when the SID device is used.”
SID registers the speed of the car and the volunteers look out for cars that seem to be speeding. If this proves to be the case they take down the vehicle’s registration number, colour and model so that it can be positively identified. They use a dictaphone to do this because it is faster.
Vehicles are given leeway with their speed as in 30mph limits only those travelling above 35mph are registered. The aim is to slow drivers down, not to catch people. The hope is that motorists are always conscious of their speed because they never know when a Speed Watch group will be around the corner.
You can volunteer by calling your local policing team on the non-emergency 101 police number.
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Weather for Biggleswade
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 8 C
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Wind direction: North west
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